2015年2月27日 星期五

YouTube for kids; Google, Driverless Cars and the Uber's Business

Google, Driverless Cars and the "Gooberification" of Everything
Posted: 02/20/2015 6:20 pm EST Updated: 02/20/2015 6:59 pm EST

Google is the most dominant platform in the world.

It is a pure platform company that makes almost all of its revenue from facilitating exchanges and interactions between its users. Google's main revenue driver, search advertising, works by connecting advertisers with consumers. And with Android, Google connects software developers with consumers through the Play Store. In fact, Google has made a significant investment in just about every type of platform.

Almost all of these platforms enable Google to improve its core business: collecting data on users and using that to serve them ads.
But the last platform frontier for Google is a services marketplace, where uber-startups Uber and Airbnb reign supreme. Uber recently made headlines when it unveiled a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to fund research for autonomous cars and proprietary mapping technology. This announcement could turn the formerly cozy Google and Uber relationship into full-blown competition. If Uber's investment in Carnegie Mellon pays off, it would allow the company to be less dependent on Google Maps and to directly compete with Google's autonomous car program.
And apparently, Google already sees the potential threat. News leaked last week that Google is in the early stages of testing its own Uber competitor. While Google's autonomous car aspirations are well-documented, its interest in developing a ride-hailing service app would be its first foray into a services marketplace platform. The details on the intent and scope of Google's program are still murky, and driverless cars are still years away from reaching mainstream consumers. But it's easy to see why Google would want to own the future of transportation.
Google's Blind Spots

Google makes 90% of its revenue selling text ads for every marketable product or service on earth. Search was the backbone of the consumer Internet, helping to organize traffic and information. All of Google's core products - Gmail, Android, Maps - are given away essentially for free so that the company can extend its access to information. In essence, Google expands its revenue by "expanding the pie" for the Internet. Google wanted to be the logistics platform of a digital world, and for the most part it has succeeded. Where it's failed is when it comes up against walled gardens like Facebook, which has reams of user data that Google's crawlers can't access. Enter Google's largely failed effort to establish a social network, Google +.

Where does Uber come into all of this? For now, Uber is just a ride-hailing app, but as some of its experiments (like messenger service Uber Rush) have shown, its mission is to become the logistics platform of a connected world. If Uber's dream becomes reality, Google could be faced with another walled garden keeping it from accessing information it wants. Google has continuously tried to expand its reach throughout the desktop and mobile Internet. So when the Internet of Things starts to come to life, I'd expect Google to try to do the same. Owning a key transportation platform through driverless cars would be one way for it to accomplish this.
The Gooberfication of Everything
So how could Google take on Uber? If Google can successfully bring autonomous cars to market, it could create what many have jokingly called "Goober," a services marketplace similar to Uber that's powered by self-driving cars. Compared to Uber today, Goober's transportation prices would be substantially lower. And even worse for Uber, Google wouldn't even need to make money from rides. Currently, Uber makes money by taking a cut of each transaction. But Google wouldn't need to. Instead, it could offer rides at-cost and make money from its captive audience by collecting data and showing them Google-run advertising.
In this scenario, Google doesn't even need to own the cars. A car owner could be dropped off at work and then their car could spend the day picking up and dropping off other passengers on Goober. The car owner would keep all the money they make from giving rides and Google would keep the advertising revenue and data. Everyone wins.
The more data Google can collect, the better it can target ads and the more advertisers will be willing to spend on Google advertising. By getting more users unto its platform through expand the pie initiatives like an Uber competitor, Google can continue to finely tune its big-data engine and position itself to be a central part of the Internet of Things. Game on, Uber.


這是谷歌首個從頭構建並專為兒童設計的應用,其細節設計包括大幅彩色界面、定時器設置等。除了易於導航的圖標和為家庭設計的內容外,這款應用還將包括家長可以操控的內容,比如上網時間、音量設置和搜索結果等。該應用的初始界面有芝麻街(Sesame Street)、火車頭日記(Thomas and Friends)和嘎巴寶寶(Yo Gabba Gabba)等一批熟悉的面孔,還有學習和音樂等選項卡,供孩子探索。 

Google is releasing a sanitized YouTube app just for kids.

Called YouTube Kids, the Android app only plays age-appropriate videos and has a simplified design that even young children who can't read will be able to navigate. The app, which will carry ads, will be available in the U.S. from Feb. 23.
YouTube says it has seen nearly 200% growth in family entertainment over the past year.
As its popularity with children has increased, so have concerns from parents. The site bans explicit sexual content, but there are dark corners of YouTube where kids can accidentally end up. There is a "Safety mode" on the regular site and apps, but it's still easy for kids to stumble onto inappropriate videos, or worse, read the comments.
"Parents have been asking us to make YouTube friendlier for kids and for families," said Shimrit Ben-Yair, the group product manager for YouTube Kids.
The app only plays a heavily edited selection of videos. Since there is such a huge amount of new kids' content being posted daily, the app will also rely on the community to tag anything ill-suited for children.
YouTube Kids is for watching only, so there is no ability to upload content, or share or comment on videos. Even the search function has been cleaned up. If a kid punches in a search term such as "sex" the app will reply, "Try searching for something else."
To accommodate toddlers, there's only minimal text in the graphics heavy design, and kids can speak search terms instead of typing. When a video ends the next will play automatically. A timer feature lets parents control how long their kids can use the app before it shuts down.
Videos are divided into four categories. The Shows section includes popular channels like Sesame Street and The FuZees, which are some of the big name brands releasing new episodes for the launch. Music is stocked with videos including the sing-along version of "Let it Go," which has been viewed more than 345 million times.
The app also takes into account kids more peculiar YouTube obsessions with the Learning and Explore sections. Many children spend hours watching user generated content, dance how-tos, or old gymnastics routines. There are Minecraft walk-throughs, where a player narrates a video of their gameplay. On the wildly popular DisneyCollector channel, a woman slowly unpacks toys such as princess figurines, describing each detail in a sing-songy voice.
In addition to testing with kids and parents inside Google, YouTube shared the app with children's advocacy groups like the Family Online Safety Institute and The Internet Keep Safe Coalition. YouTube did not say if it is working on an iOS version.
The free app will make its money from ads specifically targeted at kids. All the ads will undergo a rigorous review, according to Ben-Yair. To comply with the COPPA (the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act), which limits online tracking of anyone under 13, the app doesn't require users to log in. 

2015年2月26日 星期四

Europe’s Digital Czar Slams Google, Facebook; Google's European shake-up

Europe’s Digital Czar Slams Google, Facebook

Call for creation of single set of EU-wide rules governing data protection, copyright

Europe’s digital czar Günther Oettinger said Europe should counter the dominance of U.S. Internet giants by creating a single set of EU-wide rules governing issues such as data protection and copyright.
Europe’s digital czar Günther Oettinger said Europe should counter the dominance of U.S. Internet giants by creating a single set of EU-wide rules governing issues such as data protection and copyright. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
BRUSSELS—Europe’s digital czar Günther Oettinger fired off a broadside at Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. on Tuesday, warning that the U.S. technology giants are exploiting legal loopholes in Europe to gather and sell individuals’ personal data.
The comments underline the deep concerns in Europe’s highest policy circles about the power of U.S. technology companies, as the European Union prepares key decisions on how to reshape its digital sector and where to take a long-running antitrust case against Google.
In a speech in Brussels, Mr. Oettinger, Germany’s powerful representative to the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said Europe should counter the dominance of U.S. Internet companies by creating a single set of EU-wide rulesgoverning issues such as data protection and copyright.
“The Americans are in the lead, they’ve got the data, the business models and so the power,” he said.
European governments are currently completing an EU-wide data-privacy law that will likely impose tough new restrictions on how tech companies can use personal data. ENLARGE
European governments are currently completing an EU-wide data-privacy law that will likely impose tough new restrictions on how tech companies can use personal data.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Google and Facebook “will go to the member states where data protection is least developed, come along with their electronic vacuum cleaner, take it to California and sell it for money,” Mr. Oettinger said. Google and Facebook both have their European headquarters in Ireland.
That is why “we need one European data-protection law,” Mr. Oettinger said.
Facebook declined to comment. Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.
European governments are currently completing an EU-wide data-privacy law that will likely impose tough new restrictions on how technology companies can use personal data. Policy makers have said they hope to reach a final agreement on the law by year-end.
Data privacy plays a much bigger role in the public debate in Europe than it does in the U.S., in part because of the legacy of totalitarian regimes in Germany and other European countries during the past century. Those concerns were aggravated by last year’s revelations of widespread Internet surveillance of Europeans by U.S. security services.
The EU’s data-privacy overhauls are part of wider plans to build a single digital market that knits together the region’s 28 different Web systems. The commission has pledged to unveil those plans by May.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal last month, Mr. Oettinger said the EU might impose taxes on U.S. Internet companies as part of that plan.
The European Commission is also set to decide in the coming months whether to file formal charges against Google for allegedly abusing its dominance of online search in Europe, where its market share exceeds 90%.
Mr. Oettinger said on Tuesday that the scale of the biggest U.S. technology companies means that “the Americans have been able to define quite a number of different rules.”
“We’ve got to ensure that our economy stays on board,” he said.
Write to Tom Fairless at tom.fairless@wsj.com
After years of increasing scrutiny from regulators, customers and other companies, ‪#‎Google‬ is shaking up its management structure in Europe.

The FT's Ravi Mattu reports on the group's new approach to the continent.

Google: new HQ; Is Offering Hackers an 'Infinity Million Dollars'

Businessinsider India
Google is planning a massive new HQ in California
Google is planning expansive new headquarters in Mountain View, California, according to a new report in the New York Times. It's due to be ...

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Why Google Is Offering Hackers an 'Infinity Million Dollars'
How's this for an awesome payday? Google is offering a reward of an "infinity million dollars" to hackers who bring to light vulnerabilities in its Chrome ...

Boss of revenge porn site wants Google to take articles down because they have 'unauthorised' photos of him

Craig Brittain complained about articles making 'unauthorized use' of photos

A man who ran a revenge porn site to share stolen nude images of people is demanding Google stop showing articles about his site.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in January banned Craig Brittain’s site IsAnyoneDown from posting pictures and ordered him to delete the images he had already collected. Brittain is now trying to have that ruling, as well as articles about it, to be taken down from Google.
He says that the links are examples of “unauthorized use of photos of me and other related information”, according to Ars Technica.
The complaint, made under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) refers to the FTC’s press release about the notice as well as articles reporting its decision.
The FTC’s release said that Brittain had tricked women on Craigslist into sending him nude pictures, and then posting them on his site without permission. He also paid users $100 in exchange for photos and information about certain people.
The site ran services called “Takedown Hammer” and “Takedown Lawyer” which claimed to be independent of the main site and allowed users to pay between $200 and $500 to have pictures of them taken down.
DCMA requests allow users to ask internet companies like Google to take down links to sites that are infringing copyright. But Ars Technica notes that a number of legal precedents are on the side of the FTC and other news sources in this case.
Ars Technica also notes that the requests would probably not be admitted under the EU’s “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling, which allows users to ask Google to take down information if they are “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant”.

2015年2月19日 星期四

聯想筆電安裝廣告軟體,竊取用戶私密資料Google Opposes Proposal to Ease Warrants for Computer Searches ; Lenovo Turns Off Superfish PC Adware

聯想被爆出販售的電腦中,出現間諜軟體,讓使用者曝露在 HTTPS...

Lenovo Turns Off Superfish PC Adware Following Customer Complaints
Lenovo said it is no longer installing a visual search engine application called Superfish on its laptops after allegations surfaced that the software exposes a user’s previously encrypted browser data and passwords exposed to online attackers. Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal

Lenovo has disabled and discontinued loading laptops with an ad-serving software called Superfish that, according to security researchers, makes it easy for attackers to access encrypted Web data, and even online passwords.

The company said in a statement on Thursday that it stopped shipping computers with the Superfish adware in January—a practice it had begun in September—and that it will not preload this software again in the future. Lenovo also said that Superfish had been disabled on systems that already had it installed.

Google Opposes Proposal to Ease Warrants for Computer Searches



Google GOOGL +0.70% is opposing a proposal that would make it easier for law enforcement to get warrants to hack into computers, the latest skirmish between Silicon Valley and the U.S. government in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about widespread spying.

Google’s beef is with a proposed change to a procedural rule for issuing federal search warrants. Now, law-enforcement agents that want to search property typically must get a warrant from a judge in the district where the property is located.

But with computer crimes in the Internet age, law enforcement doesn’t always know the physical location of a computer. Hence the proposed rule change published last yearthat would let judges authorize searches of computers outside their district as well.

In a blog post Wednesday, Google Legal Director Richard Salgado wrote that the issue was better left to Congress than the ”little-known body” overseeing federal courts that has proposed the change.

The proposed expansion of warrant power, Salgado wrote, would likely be used by U.S. authorities to search computers and devices around the world, which could undermine efforts to improve cooperation between governments. He also wrote that the change threatens privacy rights of computer users.

Law enforcement officials need “remote access warrants” in part “to combat anonymizing techniques,” the Department of Justice wrote in a memo last year, urging the change. Officials have pointed to tools like Tor that help conceal a computer user’s identity potentially impeding criminal investigations.

Others have expressed concerns that remote-access warrants would violate the Fourth Amendment’s protections against overly broad searches.

The proposed change relates to domestic law enforcement, not spying. But it feeds into anxiety in Silicon Valley since Snowden revealed the extent of U.S. government snooping. One infamous document included a smiley face labeling the point of vulnerability where the NSA allegedly tapped Google’s network.

A Department of Justice spokesman said “This proposal would not authorize any searches not already authorized under current law. The proposal relates solely to venue for a warrant application.”